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tv   Book Discussion on Empty Mansions  CSPAN  June 2, 2014 7:00am-8:01am EDT

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six, pbs for 23 years, and then in 2011 started my own business and my own radio show, and we are on each weekday. noon to one on the voice. i like to thank you all for coming out this particular portion of our festival being sponsored by the city of tucson and the arizona daily star. we thank them for their support. this presentation will last about one hour and will have plenty of time, we'll carve out at least 20 minutes for all of your questions. and will get some good answers to them i'm sure so pleased hold your questions until we get into the final portion of our program. at the conclusion of the session the authors will be going to a signing area to meet you and autograph the book. out of respect for the authors enter fellow audience members,
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we ask that you turn off your cell phones. so i see some of you reaching to do that right now. today we want to welcome the co-authors of the best selling book titled "empty mansions: the mysterious life of huguette clark and the spending of a great american fortune." bill dedman is an investigative reporter. an investigative reporter for nbc news. he received in 1989 pulitzer prize investigative reporting for his work, the series was called the color of money which was a series of articles in the atlantic journal of constitution on racial discrimination i mortgage lenders in middle income neighborhoods. in 2010, bill introduced the public there is huguette clark and her in the mansion to his compelling series of narratives for nbc which by the way became the most popular featured --
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feature in the history of abc's news website with 110 million page views. pretty impressive. paul newell is with this, a cousin of huguette clark and paul has researched the clark family history for over 20 years. he shared many conversations with huguette about her life and family. he also received a rare private tour of huguette's mysterious estate overlooking the pacific ocean in santa barbara. it is an incredibly compelling story, one that i could not put down. so right off the bat i want to both say congratulations to both of you and i'm sure many of our ideas members also have enjoyed the book. bill, let's begin with you. when did you first hear about huguette?
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>> it was 2009. my wife and i had houses on the brain. the house values had fallen into financial crisis, and we were moving. my wife job moved from boston to the new york area, and we were struck as landlord. -- stuck as landlord. as renters looking for houses but unable to afford them. you've all been in that situation where your word about how to get in the square footage, how to find a driveway that our girls could ride their bikes on. we had houses on the brain. i was looking at the real estate listings just for destruction and saw at the top of the chart well beyond our price range the most expensive house in connecticut was priced at $34 million, but been marked down to 25. it was a bargain. >> what a deal. [laughter] >> it was a cozy charmer with 14,000 square feet and 52 acres and a river.
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i was curious who owned. i imagined it might be the chairman of general electric perhaps. i looked at the town website and i saw a note in the sony records that said this house has been unoccupied since this owner bought it in 1951. that didn't seem possible. so i went over the next day to see it, and the caretaker asked me, he said, you know, i've not seen any clark. this is mrs. clark's house. i get paid by the lawyer every month, a lawyer in europe sends me a check. no one has ever lived here. there's no furniture in the house. i take care of the. it seemed more like a bird sanctuary. and as i was leaving he said, can i ask you a question? do you suppose she's been dead all these years? [laughter]
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well, i didn't know, but it turned out that this was not her nicest empty house, and she had a nicer house in california, santa barbara, worth close to $100 million overlooking the pacific that she last visited in the 1950s. and the legend was that the gardeners were still at work and that the cars were untouched in the garage, and i didn't believe that, but in the book you can see a picture of the cadillac limousine and the oldsmobile convertible both with license plates that say 1949. and she had 15,000 square feet overlooking central park and three apartments, 42 rooms in new york city where the doorman said no, it's been at least 20 years. we've not seen her. the elevator does not stop on her floor. and so that started a hunt to see what had happened to this
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reclusive woman who, it turned out, was tied to an amazing american family. her father had been thought to be as rich as rockefeller in the early 1900s, was known as a genius in business but solely to his reputation -- reputation in politics. we in part of the 17th amendment allowing for direct election of senators because william clark was paying legislators to vote for him in montana. and he faded from memory and it was astonishing to think of the math, he been born in 1839. he was 22 when the civil war began. he was born in the martin van buren administration and his daughter, his youngest child, born in 1906 during the teddy roosevelt administration might still be alive when barack obama was president.
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she held a ticket on the titanic and she was alive on 9/11. so that's what began pulling the string of the real estate listing, begin a search to find out what was her story and what had happened to her and why was much of her property being sold. >> and then you hook up with paul. when did that happen? >> this is after she died. she died in 2011 at age 104. she was two weeks of short over 105th birthday. and one of the relatives introduced me to paul instead you chos fellows might be writie same book, you should get together. and i'm very glad that we did. >> paul, tell us a little bit about how, what was it like growing up? what did you know about huguette? >> very little. as a matter of fact, even then and right up to the time that bill invaded her privacy --
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[laughter] she was virtually unknown. her father had been a very famous american tycoon. clark county is named in nevada -- but even his name had faded. it's not an unusual name like rockefeller or carnegie, but i'm sure that it was partly because he didn't leave tracks. he didn't leave a big legacy in terms of philanthropic activity or other ways in which his name specifically was standing as one of the great, i just today we would call it a billionaire, but in this time, hundreds of millions of dollars. >> paul, when was the first time that you spoke with huguette? >> the first time was in 1994. i have been chipping away for
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some time in terms of the general family history, but focused more on her father, w. a. clark, and partly because there was so little about her and at the time i was not even informed that she was still living. that had applied in many other instances within the family where we had family members, descendents of w. a. clark, one or two i recall specifically said, well, i thought i saw her once about 60 years ago at a funeral. and i didn't have an opportunity to actually talk with her, but i think i saw her. so that's how completely blanked the table it is. >> bill, let's start with mr. clarke. a little bit about him. >> he was remarkable.
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if it the american archetype. is born in a log cabin in pennsylvania, not before, but in middle income farming family that moved to iowa when the civil war began. shortly before conscription started. he went west to colorado and then up to montana territory. mining gold, and eventually became involved in merchandising. he was a merchant. he was delivering the mail, selling aches and pick axes to miners. he was lending money at two to 5% a month. he became the owner of some minds in butte, montana, and to the remarkable thing even though he had a wife and young children, he went back to columbia university in new york to study geology here took his samples and learned a great deal and he went back and take a wealthy in copper and silver and zinc and gold.
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he eventually got his biggest earning was in arizona, the united mine, the most lucrative copper mine in the world in the early 1900s. he owned it out right, more than 99% of the shares, and he got into railroads, he built a railroad connecting los angeles to salt lake city and then on to the east, opening the port of los angeles. he was a visionary in that regard. and along the way he needed a walk and stop for his railroad to store water and pick up supplies, and that became las vegas, which he auctioned off the lots for at its founding in 1905, which is why it's in clark county. but he sold his reputation from the politics, and so in the early 1900s he was on all the magazine covers. he was a well-known figure in new york and across the country.
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lampooned in cartoons and he was often -- he had a huge art collection. he would throw open the doors of his mansion in new york city to allow the public to tour the five art galleries. that was huguette clark's family home in new york city. 121 rooms for a family of four. that's the circumstance that she grew up in after coming over from paris in 1904. >> there were the two children, huguette was the youngest and the first daughter. her sister died tragically. >> her sister died young just short of her 17th birthday of meningitis. of course, this is well before penicillin. the family had great concerns. they had a quarantine power in the top of the mention. huguette grew up in a household with a lot of fears, fears of kidnapping were at the
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forefront. her sister was an outdoors girl, a girl scout. and after she died the family donated the first national girl scout camp in new york state. some of you may have gone to girl scout camp there that the clark's gave more than 100 acres for the camp. huguette would've been an early tenet at the time that her own sibling died. >> paul, when the conversation began with you and huguette, had she gone into the hospital at that point? >> yes. she had been probably several years in dr. stafford i think was the name of which at that time was, it was a hospital that was kind of a hospital that celebrities patronized. >> but she liked the visit so
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much that she stayed. to residents literally became a hospital. >> exactly, yes. >> but she was in pretty bad shape when she went into the hospital. >> she is a medical issues that needed immediate attention but they're not chronic problems and they could be dealt with effectively with medicine at the time. >> how does somebody disappeared off the radar and why have the clark's not been remembered? >> the lack of philanthropy is i think the key thing. there's a lot of negative things you could say about andrew carnegie, but we plaster his name on like this all across america. rockefeller is similar. w. a. clark was a philanthropic to the extent he gave his art collection to the gallery of art in washington, d.c. there's a clark building there. it's a collection of european
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art. but the house was torn down. the businesses were sold. it's a common name. it's really a failure of succession plan, a failure of maintaining of a reputation. he worked so hard to build a reputation and society when he was alive. it also was that the male heirs to the family to dine. the great hope, w. a. clark the third known as tertius, latin for third, who died in an airplane accident about clark dale, jerome. his wife saw the plane go down from the porch. he was with lindbergh's friend and they were practicing flying with the windshield covered as lindbergh had flown across the atlantic unable to see out the front because of the gas tanks. he went down and there was a
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line of deaths of male heirs, and huguette and her half-sisters sold off the businesses in the late 1920s and early 1930s. and so there was no legacy left. they lived a very quietly. >> i'm going to have you go up to the microphone over your. we have an audience -- paul, why don't you describe how you reached huguette to call you back? >> i'm going to do go over to this microphone right here. okay, over at this one. and then he has some visuals for us. every going to start with the audio clip? go ahead, paul. set it up. >> the call please, paul. >> to return to the point regarding huguette, one of the
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first experiences i had in confirming that she was still living was at the museum in washington, d.c., bill noted, w. a. clark's fine art collection was assembled and is still there today. it's a museum that is about a half a block from the white house. so it's nice and located within washington, d.c. anyway, i visited that and it was probably late 1994, and went through the collection and talked with the archivist of their. she told me that huguette was still alive. so that was interesting to hear. still alive but they weren't exactly sure where she lived. they think she was still in new york, but they had no direct contact with her. huguette's attorney, who had at the time been her attorney for
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probably 15 years or so, he was the interim, the intermediary for people who try to get attention, try to get huguette's possible, and that the answer was not possible. however, he acknowledged to the archivist that he had never met huguette, and he had been her attorney for all these years. and beyond that point another 10 years or so, and succeeded by another attorney who was affiliated in the same firm who never met her until i think after she -- yeah, i think he did meet her once a just prior to the time that she died. so that's how alone and how protected huguette was. she was very isolated. >> so i thought to write her a
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letter, and i wrote, prepared the letter, sent it to this attorney in washington -- in new york city and asked that he send it along to huguette. get i think that i would hear back from her, get a response? frankly, no, i didn't think that would be likely to happen, just based on her lifestyle as best we knew it. but it was within 10 days of that that i found a message on my answering machine, and i'm in and out, the niche of a business, sometimes i was away for periods of time, but i didn't easy contact by answering machine. and there was a message for me. paul, this is your and huguette, and she talked briefly on that occasion that she wanted, she
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said i want to speak with you, paul. i very much want to have you available so i can talk to you. so i was delighted by that, but then frequently frustrated in that she left messages with no return number. and it just happened to reach me quite a few times when i was away and the only way i would have record of her conduct was on the answering machine. later in the year of 1994, i wrote to her and told her that i was going to be in new york city, and it should try to reach me there i'd be happy to talk with her. so i arrived in new york. i was there to meet some of the members of the clark family, these would be fairly distant relatives of hers, but descendents of senator clarke.
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so i scheduled a meeting with one of her nephews, a distant nephew, who was dual citizenship but primarily a french citizen, and he was at the time the council job of representing france in the -- what do they call it? the consulate i guess, not the embassy but the consulate in new york city. in fact, he was with it in blocks of where we thought huguette was residing in this great 15,000 square foot apartment. so i got into new city. i had a late dinner that night and i came into the wrote about 11:00 at night, and the phone is ringing as i got in there. so i picked up the phone. she said, bill, -- i mean paul, this is your aunt huguette. she referred to me as her and. she's actually my cousin to quit a nice little visit.
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she knew i had been there to meet with andrea at the french embassy and another cousin of his who was known to huguette, although she'd never met him. yes, thank you. [inaudible] >> at that point the answering
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machine had timed out. >> i detect kind of a french accent. >> that was her first language. it was important for the senator to have all his children become cosmopolitan and speak several languages, and he pushed very hard for their high level of education. >> and france was a very important part of huguette's life growing up. >> she was born in paris in 1906. her mother, you have to realize, there was quite a difference in age between mother and father. her mother was 39 years younger than her husband. they had their two daughters, they always thought of themselves as french, born in paris, and then came to america
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into that great house in new york city. >> which is no longer there. >> the father was so flamboyant, he was quite reserved and private, but a public figure and a show we won. they were quite public as a family as far as holding fundraisers in his house. but after he died of a great mansion was torn down. it was too expensive to operate and it was too expensive for anyone else to own. they were 31 bathrooms. iif you wanted to use a diff one every day of the month, you could. and so it was torn down in 1927 after the father died in 1925. mother and daughter moved down the street to separate apartment building in the same apartment building, overlooking the conservatory pond where stuart little raced sailboats.
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i'm told that might be fictional. but they lived very quietly. a mother was interested in music, chamber music and huguette was a painter, and order -- an artist, a collector of dolls, a builder of dollhouses, a student of japanese history. she commissioned japanese model buildings of teahouses and palaces and residences at 50 to $80,000 talking with an artist in japan who would go to get pictures at the back of the house and send them in so she could work on her design, and to get the fabrics just right. she was a meticulous, quiet artist. took a lot of photographs and was a collector of cameras. she had her passions, but direct complicity -- recluses but he
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seemed to be in line with her mother, not going up very much. they were rarely seen in the '30s and '40s. in the '50s huguette was done to go up to the french consulate of the street for fashion shows that would be held there because she wanted to buy, or study the fashions for her dolls. she would go out to get her the best of her three stradivarius violins. should go out to have them we strong and maintained. she was a collector of paintings. she had a passion but they were very private inside artistic ones. and so we don't know that she was out of the house at all in the '60s or '70s or 80s, and she was in the hospital in 1991 and stayed there 7300 nights. >> she was still writing checks throughout the spirit. >> jesper kurt -- yes. her generosity was great.
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most of her generosity was private a spectacular example of that is her nurse in the hospital, a filipino immigrant who was randomly assigned by home health agency to work for this woman as a private duty nurse in the hospital. she was the day nurse working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for many years. and then they moved to three, eight hour shifts. during the 20 years that she served huguette clark, she and her family received $31 million in gifts from huguette during those 20 years. she is probably the only registered nurse in the world who gets seven houses and a mentally. >> unbelievable. >> which she said is the most inconvenient car in brooklyn. [laughter] so there is no evidence that she
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was pestering her for kids. she would say, well, my brother is coming to visit. huguette would ask where were your brother and family be staying? they will stay with us. his daughter has cancer and -- no, no, no. so huguette bought them a house around the corner. that house has been into now for many years. the brothers family moved to california. so even the nurse had an empty mansion. [laughter] >> can you give us some idea of what was the value of the state and what was their worth when senator clark was alive? >> the estimate for senator clark's estate buried very widely. and, of course, the goal is to keep the evaluation as low as possible to limit the estate taxes. it was estimated anywhere from 50 to $250 million, and that's such a wide range.
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huguette inherited one-fifth of that, for children from the first marriage got four shares, and she got a fifth share. when she died, she doesn't seem to have lived -- welcome you could debate whether or not she lived extravagantly. her monthly expenses into 20 years and hospital for one-third we look at was about $400,000 a month which was monthly budget. for maintenance of the three unused properties, but the thing she had bought increased greatly in value. she died with about, conservative estimated was about $310 million. the largest asset is the home in santa barbara, which she left in her will to a charity for the arts. we can talk about the challenge and a court battle over the money. >> you knew they would be a court battle over the money. >> of course. and how many errors came forward
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to claim a piece of the pie? >> the will disinherit the descendents of her father's first marriage. these would be her half way to great nieces and nephews. there were 19 who came forward to challenge the will. their argument was that the will signing ceremony was a mess, which it was, and that she was incompetent, and that there was undue influence on her am the attorney, the nurse, the accountant, et cetera. as paul pointed out, these relatives knew her and had some contact with her, some of them by letter and phone, bu but they thinthink the lessor at a funern 1968, and the last, any, the less any of them spoke with him was 1964. that doesn't matter, you can inherit money from anyone you've never met.
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what matters is if you get the will turn out or not. there was a jury selection, and then it was settled. a thumbnail description of the settlement is that the nurse who was in line for about $30 million got nothing in the settlement. she had to give back five of the 31 she had gotten before. she's okay, don't worry. >> we are really worried. [laughter] >> the family got about $35 million. attorneys got about $30 million. the state and federal government got about $100 million. the estate in california went to a charity to be established as directed in the will, and so they are a little cash poor. house for you might say. they have a house and the million dollars that they will have to decide, a board of directors will have to decide is this going to be a public museum and will we all be able to go to
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her home in california in santa barbara? and paul and his dog had been there but very few others, and we'll would be able to tour that in the future or will they decide that they just have to sell the house and use that cash to serve the arts as directed in the will? >> and what might point out, paul, you are not one of the heirs were contesting the will, is that correct? >> that's true. >> did you have a piece of the action? >> people, i'm sure, are wondering. >> well to the icu were driving down in a rolls-royce. >> i borrowed it. [laughter] >> the answer is that the wheels were awed in both cases. in one case it was a very simple
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will and does frequently use under the law where rather than to list some 20 heirs, they just referred them to be -- that the assets, her assets should be divided, or should be delivered to the members of her father's family, and delivered as if she had died into a state. in other words, they became blooped into it out of that particular well by just saying the whole bunch of them were legitimately descendents of her father, will divide my estate. >> but paul is not descended from her father. he is descended from his father's younger sister. so if the will was thrown out, he wasn't a litigant. >> but anyway, there were two wills. the first one as this it was
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very simple. the second one is one that there was so much taint on it that it was probably, if it had gone to court they would of had a hell of a time figuring out how they treated that because her financial advisor and her attorney were guilty of negligence in many respects in terms of the way they advised her and handled her debts and our income. >> and they were both beneficiaries of the will? >> yes. and one of the financial individuals was a convicted felon at the time that she died. and that wasn't anything directly related to huguette, but it was a smear on his reputation. so there was a lot of evidence of incompetence or neglect. and then there were these very odd requests, including the one
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to a caregiver had received over to more than $25 million was scheduled to double that under that second will. so i think if it hadn't been settled, it would be very hard for them to figure out what usually the fair thing to do under these circumstances. >> for me the strongest evidence, on the question of her -- the families claim was she must be psychotic, she must be mentally ill. she has properties she is not using and she has balls. -- dolls. these were beautiful french balls, 14, $20,000 at a throw. the best evidence i think of her as the conversation she had with paul, a tape recordin recorded f
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those are in the audio version of the book. there's a hardcover book and an electronic book but there's also an audio book you can download. a lot of the conversations are in the bulk and you can hear huguette describing how we had tickets on the titanic, yes, the return trip in 1912. our father had shown us the estate rooms would be in, as she matter-of-factly put it we had to take another vote. [laughter] and she knew name of that other boat, the george washington. when paula didn't bring to mind the name of a to where she did in 1915, she knew that name. the jury would have heard those, and it seems to me pretty strong evidence at least at that period well into her 90s she was quite lucid. >> interesting, because as i recall in the book, when you're talking to her about honolulu
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and some of the royal hawaiian came up and the royal hawaiian was not built until 1927 i believe. so she was actually referring to what's now called -- and she described it. if folks have never been there, it's a gym, a historic landmark but she described that property. that's somebody who is not lack of. that is someone who still have it together. >> she was right. >> before we go to the audience questions, we are quickly getting there, much of the art is actually in a world tour, bill, right now. it started -- >> christie's auction house in new york is selling, to go into the state, in the settlement, some of the art she owned, paintings she made will end up in a home in california but the paintings that she had bought, there's a monet water lilies
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worth approximately $25 million, and others, 400 items. there are views that will occur in april and may and the our sales in may and june. so get your bids ready. at christie's a new. so the public can go on certain dates in new york city at rockefeller center and tour her art collection. >> as a sidenote, senator clark originally wanted the entire art collection to go to the metropolitan museum of art in new york. that questioned some of -- maybe wasn't up to the metropolitan standard so maybe that's why they turn to washington. >> the real problem is that insisted all of the collections together forever, which is typical arrogance of a donor to give instructions that would carry on after death.
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the mets said it is too much trouble. we don't have a place to do that so they turned down the offer. >> let's turn now to some the questions. i would ask so everyone can hear it would go up due one of the two microphones and we can hear your question. >> bill will be putting some visuals up for us as well. go ahead. >> i want to ask a follow. we had the opportunity to go to the corcoran and see the collection. and the clock name stuck in our minds, the articles about this in the last couple years we found it to be really fascinating. but could you tell us a little bit more about corcoran? as i understand it they are going to perhaps through bankruptcy or some financial difficulties, and that played into the way in which the resolution of the will was negotiated. >> in the second will they were a beneficiary. as the case was settled to i
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guess make everyone -- everywhere feel like they're going to get their fair share, it was settled rather than go to a judicial judgment. and i don't know too much about the current condition of the corcoran, but it's true that they are financially distressed. they had i think hope for a larger but less than ever see. i hope they survive because it's a very well located museum and it's something for washington, d.c. to be proud of, but i think -- i hadn't heard about a bankruptcy, and they do think there are circumstances are a little improved. >> what happened recent was corcoran announced it was going to benefit give up and march with the national gallery of art and let it run the art and tickets diversity side of the
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corcoran and merge with the university. but the very strange circumstance with the corcoran and the will was there was love this waterlily paintings by monet. and it is a price of $25 million, and the corcoran opposed her will to the corcoran joined with the distant relatives making the claim that she was incompetent. now, it had kept the money she had given the corcoran all through the years of incompetency but it was opposing the will. the family and the corcoran denied that there was any sort of side deal where the corcoran will join with him and later they will get more money to the corcoran. it's hard to imagine any circumstance why the corcoran would have done that. and in the settlement it ends up getting $10 million out of a $25 million painting. so the corcoran in such
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financial difficulty is giving up, gave up $15 million. if the painting sells for more than 25 million, it gets half of that additional part. so if it sells for 30, that's 2.5 million more. it gave 15 already. it's such a bizarre circumstance, and i wouldn't be surprised if there were other potential donors for the corcoran who said wait a minute, are you telling me if i leave you money he will oppose my will? that can't have been good for fundraising. >> this lady here, please. >> so you said that her mother was 39 years younger than -- did they ever get married legally? >> good question. there's a debate about this. it gives the appearance of a backdated marriage. what happened was, you know, well, w. a. clark was serving in the united states senate with businesses all the around the
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world. at the time that his marriage to his much younger woman was announced. john edwards has nothing on him last night -- [laughter] it was such a surprise that when the announcement came to the newspaper in the montana a newspaper owned by w. a. clark, they did not believe it. and didn't publish the story. they were scooped on this tour by their competing newspaper because they perceived it come it's not possible that he is marrying this woman at her age. it gives the appearance that the marriage was backdated. they later presented some sworn statements that they've been married in marseille. his travel calendar had not put him in marseille on that day. in court testimony they said there is no legal record of the marriage.
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it appears to have been backdated. >> i mean, when you see backdated -- >> meaning later they said we were married on that day. remember, they were announcing not only that they've been married but they were married and already had a child, huguette's older sister. >> so was he already divorced from -- >> his first wife died from typhoid which was contracted of the world's fair in chicago. he was a widower with the grown children who were older than his new wife. >> was she the region? >> no. she was a french canadian. the story was that her father was a doctor which wasn't true, that she's sort of had been adopted as a board. of the a lot of made up stories but she was a poor girl from a poor family, a boarding house owning family in butte, montana, and she later gave the appearance that she was the
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region. >> so we don't know how they met a? >> there are two contrasting stories. the families to that he saw her in a parade where she was playing the role of the statue of liberty. >> i love it. >> the political opponents or was that she would from businessmen to businessmen and be looking respond to and they said, you should go see w. a. clark. >> thank you. >> last question. where are her dolls? spencer levin the dolls to the nurse that into some of the nurse didn't get those either and they will go to the house in california, and the foundation, they will have to decide how me to keep and how many to sell to raise money. >> last question, i'm sorry. but how about yes, no? >> when did she start collecting them? in one of the photographs she's very young surrounded by these
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dolls. >> i think we -- spent further back than she'd remember. in other words, she was probably gifted dolls when she was less than a year old. >> this gentleman right here, please stick it's a terrific book, thank you for doing it. been a very enjoyable. the question i have is about senator clark's political reputation to the extent his remover at all for buying votes in the state legislature to get elected, will he not once but twice. but as i read your book, you gave a little more nuanced assessment of his political career. would you expound on that a little bit? >> well, he was interested politically almost from the time that he arrived as a gold miner back in 65, something like that.
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and he was making contacts with people. he became a mason, which included many of the important people in montana at that time. and so that -- the question -- so how his political career started. he was interested to start out with, and he was also a very active participant in the development of the constitution for the state, when stated came to montana. >> but the question is whether he was corrupt or not. in what context do you put the question of whether he was corrupt? >> well, i think community, office purchased today is a, practice but is no longer necessary to buy yourself a state legislature in order to capture that office. >> he was ahead of his time.
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[laughter] spent multimillionaire people are buying seats as we speak today, of course. and it's done through very devices and with a lot of television speak one of the stories we enjoy telling, clark was criticized, ashamed of the american public and everyone knows that clark's opponent in politics in montana was a man affiliated with the standard oil company. standard oil was tried to take over the compromise and put together a copper company with a lot of insiders with stock scandal attached to it. one of the beneficiaries which was mark twain mark twain was rescued from bankruptcy from standard oil. there's no evidence that the w. a. clark profited from the stock
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scandal but samuel clements did. it appears that his comments about mark twain really helped fix his reputation later. if you were to go now, look up what sort of man w. a. clark was, you would be reading mark twain to a does appear that there was an affair that was born out of a business conflict between his benefactor and huguette's father. >> paul, you mentioned that you were in new york and you actually made vote -- phone contact with huguette. >> that was the first on the phone rang and i was there to receive her call. >> i'm wondering if you actually matter? >> no. in fact, the only people, very few people could claim that they matter our new her down through the course of most of her life. by the time she moved into seclusion at the hospital, it was only limited to people who were necessary to provide just for her food and medical needs and so one within the hospital. >> thank you.
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>> what has happened to her connecticut and new york properties, or what is going to happen to them? have they been sold? >> the connecticut house has now found a buyer you're my wife and i didn't take it. >> a really? >> we found we did not need a separate room just for drying the drapes. it kept coming down in price and is now found a buyer at $14.3 million. a man named, well known as a handbag designer, a lot of money and handbags. so he and his wife who was french born interior decorator will be moving in with their family and into huguette clark's house to the apartments in new york sold to pick up in effect the asking price of $55 billion for the three apartment buildings.
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[inaudible] spent if you would like it, i'll tell you the pictures. that's w. a. clark on the right. the first wife. it will take is one minute to go through these. this is the mentioned in butte, montana, to the first clark mentioned. huguette spent time there while the new york mansion was being built. at a bed and breakfast now. you can stay in w. a. clark's bedroom if you like. huguette on the left. this is huguette at the beach house on the porch surrounded by her dolls. i spoke with the press friend who said i'm her best friend but her closest companion was her dolls. that's w. a. clark and we believe that is the first wife on the far right at the founding of las vegas in 1905. that's the new york house as it's been demolished in 1927. that's a room from that house, the golden room which you can
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see today inside at the corcoran gallery in washington. they moved the room wholesale. that's the pipe organ in one of the five art galleries in the clark mentioned. daughter huguette in an indian headdress sitting on her father's lap. there was a great deal of affection between -- huguette on her left and her older sister andree on the left. the amusement park and the garden was built for the people. the older sister after them the girl scout camp is named. huguette as a debutante. and then it carries on and there are pictures of the various houses. that's one of huguette's paintings, a self-portrait. >> she got one-fifth of the fortune. did the others a forfeit? did it burned through it or nobody knows? >> it's hard to know exactly.
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they are all, to my knowledge, they are all well off, but how much they have done based on where they started as an inherent back in the 20s, we don't have any information. >> they are not in any court laws over their inheritance? >> no. several of them lived approximately where huguette was. she was on the upper side of fifth avenue. one of the parties enhancing has a penthouse apartment about five or 10 blocks from there. up by the guggenheim museum. and i think she's not hurting. there was one, we come right down to the present time, there was a sad story about one of the entitled persons under the will your key had become sort of reclusive i guess, and also -- >> runs in the family?
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>> yes. anyway, he was found dead under a viaduct, probably didn't even know that he was an error, and he had some children who will be the recipients of that, but he was a homeless person base, well, i think it someplace to hang his hat but when he was found deceased from frost, you know, he had on his person at check that was from the settlement of his mother's estate when she died in about 2000 as i recall, a large denomination check which had never been cached. so there's industry there, that's for sure. >> this picture that which is showed, we've seen a couple of times, was the view from her last hospital room, the condition of -- spent we are not showing it now. >> they saw before.
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biller paul, how are they remembered in butte, montana. people wrote me remember the famous labor group, the head was killed outside butte, montana, greg? >> it was a hanging. at the start of world war i it was a lot of money to be made in munitions, copper and they were trying to organize the mine, the miners and getting antagonism from the other union and from the mine owners. frank little, famously, the organize was found hanged from a railroad bridge. the legacy of clark and get montana is mixed or negative. there's lot of anger about the environmental damage. a lot of that is assigned to him wind, it out to these be shared with his opponent, mark staley.
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when the tourists stop him your town it's a big, open pit mine that is filled up with water after the mines closed and would have to fire, they have the sound of recorded a gunfire to keep the birds from landing in that water and time, then your town is in trouble. but that was with all the legacy of clark's opponent, not of clark. most people i think in butte, in general opinion was that's our money that huguette is spending. they forget that the family did make a charitable contributions. they did build an orphanage and then build utilities, did build the columbia garden park there. and they forget that he made more money in arizona. some people react emotionally to it, and you can debate whether it was his money or their money.
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he's the one who got it out of the ground and built the town. so it's a matter of dispute and anchored still today in montana. >> and, of course, t.a.r.p. bill, arizona is named for clark as well. yes, ma'am. you will be our last question. >> you have a picture of her being a debutante, and she sounded really pretty good and interested in people and the telephone conversation. what changed it to make her a reckless? she never got married or anything? >> we have evidence based on research we've done that even as a young child and author allison years and so on she was somewhat withdrawn, timid. we also know that she had an active mind that was lucid and so on, but she was not comfortable, whether there's a psychological disorder involved in that, but it's a fact that she tended to stay in the background. >> one of the surprises to me
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was she was quite countable with people on the phone and in letters. and she was a maintainer of relationship. she had a brief marriage. it may have lasted any longer than honeymoon and you we were reading documents, there were telegrams she wrote very friendly to the ex-husband. she was a very generous to children and grandchildren of families employees and friends. when you say recluse, you think of a person who wasn't interested in people. she was on the phone to people all the time. she's accountable and the counter will and a program with conversations with paul. to me that was one of the surprises was that -- when just talk to your attorney through the door and never meet him, then you have some issues with people. but she's quite countable in the latter and on the phone and in telegrams. and a steadfast friend. >> bill and paul, we thank you very much, fascinating. fascinating discussion.
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[applause] we have some books, some were available right outside for bill and paul to autograph. also, the bookstore at nine, number one, they will be signing books their and purchasing, you can purchase been there. we thank you very much for being a friend of the festival. you might want to learn more about the festival by going onto the website, and we all ask that you come back again next year. take you very much for coming for the book festival. [inaudible conversations] >> for more information on the tucson festival of books, is at the website, tucsonfestivalofbooks.org.
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